Everything You Need to Know about Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Abuse - click on this link: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq1.html
If you are afraid of intimacy you will choose a partner who is equally afraid of intimacy. We all seek love or at least companionship, but some people dread them even as they look for them (ambivalence). The intimacy-averse members of a dyad will both make sure to travel alone a lot, keep exhaustingly busy, be absent from home, withhold sex or abstain from it, cheat on their mates (have emotional and sexual affairs with others), and so on. But, most importantly, they abuse and sadistically torment each other.
Why the compelling need to hurt the partner?
The obvious answer is that abuse and intimacy are mutually exclusive. In an abusive relationship, there is little risk of intimacy and lots of avoidance. But there are two additional reasons:
1. People with fear of intimacy have intense and overpowering emotions of fear and guilt. They choose abusers as their partners because being abused is their comfort zone and affirms their self-perception as bad and worthless, whorish, dumb, and deserving of punishment. They force their mates to abuse them (projective and introjective identification). 2. Abuse legitimizes and justifies cheating, adultery, infidelity, and extramarital dalliances ("he is abusing me, so he deserves what I am doing to him"). Sex addicts, adrenaline junkies (like psychopaths), labile people with emotional dysregulation (borderline and histrionic personality disorder), and somatic narcissists are all in need of sexual novelty and constant conquests to regulate and stabilize their sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
So, these kinds of partners need abuse as an excuse: "Of course I am promiscuous and am cheating on my partner all the time with many others! It is all his fault: he is abusing, rejecting, mistreating, and humiliating me! He deserves his punishment - and I need to feel desired, wanted, loved, and cared for again!"
Unlike psychopaths and like borderlines, narcissists suffer from extreme abandonment anxiety. In most narcissists it is unconscious. It is channeled via various self-defeating and reckless behaviors, deteriorating impulse control, and acting out.
The narcissist is terrified of losing his source of secondary narcissistic supply, usually his spouse. One of her roles is to serve as his external memory: to record, recall, and replay his moments of glory ("You looked so great up there on the podium last year!"). She also buttresses the narcissist's grandiosity by colluding with him in a shared psychosis ("You are a misunderstood and much envied genius, honey"). Her personality perfectly matches his pathologies and resonates with them: if he is a masochist, she hurts him; if he is sadistic, she submits; if he is a paranoid, she concurs with his persecutory delusions; if he is power-crazed, she envies him and competes with him - only to succumb time and again. 😕
To allay his anxiety over the impending and ineluctable loss of the relationship, the narcissist pushes his intimate partner away: "preemptive abandonment". This counterintuitive behavior fulfills two psychodynamic needs: 1. To regain control and mastery of the relationship ("She did not abandon me! It is I who discarded her!") and 2.To resolve the cognitive dissonance of being so utterly dependent on an inferior person and thus exposed to possible hurt and rejection: "I didn't really love her or need her - so I got rid of her!"
Having rejected and humiliated his partner (counterdependence), the narcissist is mortified by the possible consequences of his actions. He tries to make amends, compensate, hoover, and reacquire his better half. He suddenly becomes romantic or sexual or generous or kindly or caring or helpful or supportive or protective. This is especially discernible when the injured partner is in bad mental and physical shape or in need of assistance. It is the infamous "approach-avoidance repetition compulsion".
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)